Brazilian president-elect Jair Bolsonaro said on Thursday he plans to move the country’s embassy in Israel to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.
“As previously stated during our campaign, we intend to transfer the Brazilian embassy from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem. Israel is a sovereign state and we shall duly respect that,” Bolsonaro tweeted.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed Bolsonaro’s plan.
“I congratulate my friend Brazilian President-Elect, Jair Bolsonaro, for his intention to move the Brazilian Embassy to Jerusalem, a historic, correct and exciting step,” Netanyahu said in a statement.
Brazil would become the third country after the US. In May 2017, Paraguay opened its new Israeli embassy in Jerusalem, following in the footsteps of Guatemala.
Palestinians regard the eastern sector of Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestine state.
Israel claims the entire city, including the eastern sector where key holy sites for Christians, Muslims and Jews are located, as its capital.
Most countries maintain embassies in Tel Aviv, saying the final status of Jerusalem must be determined through negotiations.
Some Brazilians have raised concerns about Bolsonaro’s plan, saying it would hurt Brazil’s relations with Muslim nations.
In December 2017, US President Donald Trump recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, reversing decades of US foreign policy. The move was seen as a setback towards efforts to resolve the decades-old conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.